Category Archives: People

When Have A Great Day Doesn’t Really Mean Have A Great Day.

My mother-in-law takes issue with people here in the south. I especially notice her discomfort in the grocery store.

“Why was he talking to you? ” she says, speaking of the bagger, “Was he one of your former students?”

“Ewwww. They’re so syrupy sweet here. You know they don’t really mean it, don’t you?”

(Disclaimer: These are my mother-in-law’s stereotypes. Not mine.)

My Mother-in-law’s Theory: People in the north may be rude and keep to themselves but you can trust what comes out of their mouths. People in the south are phony and fake and have ulterior motives when they speak to you.

Of course, I disagree. I love the friendliness here. I find it real and reassuring that there are people trying to spread cheer in the world. I love the smiling hello greetings and the “thank-yews” when I leave the store. I take the friendliness at face value. Maybe because I’m right. Maybe because I’m just happier that way. But quite honestly? I don’t care. I’ll take my theory over hers any day of the week.

I’ve lived in both places, north and south. In the north for 21 years and the south for 27 years. And I’ve found phoniness in both parts of the country.

Our neighborhood has a Facebook page. And on this page, fellow residents (we have over 500) post their comments about upcoming activities, a heads-up about school fundraisers or about neighborhood amenities. My friend was fed up with some complaints about issues with the pool. So, she provided a disgruntled resident with a very fact based response, hoping to calm the resident down with what could be a highly charged issue.

It didn’t help. The resident responded with a snotty, juvenile comment and then concluded it with “Have a Great Day!”

Okay. We all know she didn’t really mean for anyone to have a great day. She was putting on her best syrupy, sweet, phony, sing-songy voice to say something she didn’t mean. She wanted to say, at best, “screw you” and at worst, “f-off.”

Throwing a “Have a nice/good/great day” at the end of a response when it’s clear you don’t mean it? So unnecessary. You aren’t fooling anyone. When you insist you really meant “Have a great day!”? No one believes you. We can see the snot through your sing-songy voice no matter if we’re from the north or the south.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Or…..

How about say nothing at all?

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Filed under How We Roll, Observations, People

Stupid Things People Say To Families Formed Through International Adoption #38

We were in the grocery store. My daughter was a toddler. A elderly woman approached us.

“Is your husband Chinese?”

“No,” I said.

“Then you adopted her?”

“Yes,” I smiled.

“Ewww. I could never do that.”

I hugged my daughter tightly and said, “And we are so glad you didn’t!”

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Filed under children, People

Peace For Whitney

I was always pulling for her. Always hoping she’d find some peace.

I just didn’t want it to be this way.

Such an amazing voice. Classic. Beautiful. Pure.

Rest in peace, Whitney. We will miss you.

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Filed under People

Where In The World Are The Kindness Police When You Need Them?

The head football coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan, is under scrutiny by the NFL after telling a fan to “Shut the f— up!” as the team walked off the field at half-time.

The coach is under scrutiny by the NFL.

Fine.

But what about the heckler?

Where are the kindness police when you need them?

Apparently, this isn’t the first time for Mr. Ryan. He was fined $50,000 for flipping a fan off at a mixed martial arts event. The fact that the NFL is demanding appropriate and exemplary behavior from its players and coaches on and off the field is admirable.

But what about the fans?

Who holds them accountable?

I’m all for having opinions. I have plenty of opinions about the over-paid players, the outrageous cost of tickets and the searches that make me throw out the 5 month old fun-sized candy bar smashed at the bottom of my purse that I wouldn’t have tried to eat inside the stadium anyway (yes, this really happened.)  But if I have a beef with a coach or a player or the fat cats raking in the ticket money, I’ll go through the proper channels.

I can write a letter. I can place a phone call. Shoot. I can write a blog post. (I’d tweet it but I don’t know how to tweet. I’ll leave that for the experts that eat off my bird feeder.)

But I’m not about to heckle the coach in the middle of the game.

Cheer your team. Boo the ref.

But keep your insults to yourself when you’re at the game.

Just a little thing your mother should have taught you.

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Filed under Observations, People, Soapbox

Thanks For Reminding Me, Andy Rooney, That Writers Never Die

A crotchety curmudgeon. A war-time journalist for the U.S. Army. A humorist. A somewhat reluctant television personality.  A former news correspondent. A husband. A father.

Andy Rooney 1919-2011

A writer.

I had a love/hate relationship with Andy Rooney. He made me laugh. He annoyed me. But always, he made me think. And I love a person who makes me think.

I’ve been watching him on 60 Minutes for as long as I can remember. There are some episodes, thanks to the invention of TiVo, where I’d skip to the last 10 minutes of the show just to watch Andy Rooney.

I’ve tried to copy his style. To no avail. But when I’m a bit down about my own blog and how I don’t seem to have a direction, I think of him.  It annoys me that I can’t find some niche. That I’m a female who blogs but it’s not a “mom blog” or a “writer’s blog.” I sometimes feel like a square peg in a round hole. It’s  just a blog. And I write about the serious and the mundane.

Hey. Kind of like Andy Rooney.

So, I secretly convince myself that I’m more of an Andy Rooney blog. Although, I’m not sure Andy would appreciate the comparison. But that’s ok. He’ll never read me. He hasn’t read me. Not that I know of, anyway.

But some people have read me. And they like what I’ve written. And that is what is important. To get the written word out there, hopefully to be read. But just get it out there.

My readers are kind of like my friends from high school. A mixed bag. I was friends with jocks, nerds and the artsy fartsy types. Today, my readers are executives, homemakers, chefs, musicians and teachers with a few artsy-fartsy thrown in for good measure.

But writers.

Every last one of them.

And am I honored to be in their presence. They inspire me. They make me laugh. They make me think. Together we get our thoughts out there to share, to see and be seen. We do our part to shift the cosmos a little, to shake up conventional wisdom. And I love that about all of you.

Our words are read. Some are preserved on paper. Some words are preserved on the internet. But they live on. And they touch souls. They open minds.

Yes, Andy Rooney. Thank goodness that writers never die.

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Filed under Blogging, People

It Was A Scene Straight Out Of My Cousin Vinny. And Jane Lived To Tell About It.

He showed up more than an hour before traffic court opened. Rolling Stones t-shirt. Scruffy beard. Work boots. I wondered why he was sitting outside the door so early. The only reason I was so early was because my son had a class at the community theater a few doors down. And I wasn’t about to get in line. This is Teeny Town, Southern State, USA. How many traffic tickets in one week could there be?

A lot, apparently. And from all walks of interesting life.

Traffic court didn’t open their doors until 5:30pm. Court began promptly at 6pm. My husband was supposed to meet me at 5:20pm to hand off the kids so I could get in line.

Yes. Jane received her second traffic ticket of her life. And yes. Jane was ticked (so to speak). She shouldn’t be here because she didn’t break the law. She just hit a certain intersection at a certain time when the light was indeed yellow but Officer Jack felt it was red. She had a witness. Her daughter, who said, “I’m proud of you Mom!” as she skated through the intersection. You see, Jane usually brakes for yellow lights. But with a quick glance in her mirrors, noticing the line of cars on her behind, she decided to complete her left turn to avoid getting hit. And when the flashing lights appeared in her rear view mirror, Mom turned to daughter and said, “Still proud of me?” Daughter slunk down in her seat.

But traffic court is where the fun began. Because Jane did her homework and consulted her lawyer friends. She was armed and ready, waiting in line to check in and challenge the powers that be. And Jane loves to people watch. What better place than traffic court?

“No food or drinks, no sunglasses or hats on your head and when you address the court it will be to your advantage to say ‘Yes, Ma’am’ or ‘Your Honor,” Officer Napoleon barked to all of us and we filed through. “If you have anything  that can be construed as a weapon and you have to ask me you jus’ better turn ‘right round (as Flo Rida’s song is now pulsing through my brain) and dispose of it outside.”

The room was tiny. It only sat 51 people. (Yes, I counted.) All the seats were taken and there was a line, winding out the door. Southern twangs were bouncing off the walls. Tattoos, stiletto heels, nicotine stained fingers and teeth, bleach blonds, teased bouffant hair-dos, skin-tight pants, gigantic costume jewelry. And this was seen on just one of the offenders. Tall. Short. Skinny and the calorically challenged. Blue hairs and the pimpled faced. All there for one reason and one reason only. To fight injustice!

“I was one year shy of finishin’ law school,” Officer Napoleon boasts, “But then I a-cided I wanted to be on the right side of the law!” Yuk-yuk-yuk. He laughed at his little joke. “Liar. Lawyer. It’s all the same!” He yukked again. I had to listen to this joke 5 times before I was finally out of earshot.

Her Honor finally arrived. Two men in orange jumpsuits and shackles were paraded in front of us, jumping the line to appear before the judge. A scare tactic, maybe? It worked with me. I started to shake and doubt my resolve.

As my liar, I mean lawyer friend suggested, I asked to speak to the prosecutor. My name was finally called and I nervously approached the table. I explained the yellow/red light. I told him about my calm and kind response with Officer Jack and how he was rude and abrupt. I told him that I realize it’s the Officer’s word against mine. Mr. Prosecutor offers to charge me with a much lesser offense, one that doesn’t carry any points. I am grateful and say, “I really appreciate that because Officer Jack didn’t even charge me with the right crime.”

I point to the copy of my ticket. “Under code it says 12-34-5-6A (codes are changed to protect the identity of my state and Officer Jack’s incompetency.) which is failure to stop at a stop sign. I was at a stop light and that is code 76-54-3-2A.”

You see, I am an inquiring mind. I do my homework.

“You need to speak to the public defender,” Mr. Prosecutor says, suddenly.

“But…,” I protest, thinking I’ve now done something terribly wrong and won’t get my lesser charge.

“No. Trust me. You want to speak to the public defender,” he smiles.

I nod and move on to the next table. Mr. Public Defender heard it all and is already thumbing through a law-book.

“You are absolutely right,” he says. “He charged you with the wrong offense. I would plead not guilty and ask for bench trial. With the wrong code, these charges should be dismissed. At worst, they might amend the charge but we’d still get this lesser charge.”

I’m stunned and amazed. (Thank you, lawyer friends of mine!) After much debating with Mr. Public Defender (because I could hardly believe my luck) and an amused smile from Mr. Prosecutor, I decide to take it to trial. But I have to wait until the end of October.

Stay tuned!

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Filed under Lessons Learned, People

6-Year-Old Retires…..Whaaaaa?

This just in!

Six-year-old Eden Wood is retiring from…..

beauty pageants.

After all, she’s competed in over 300 already. Call it burn-out. Call it been-there-done-that.  Whatever the reason, she’s done.

Oh. Wait.

Maybe pageants will interfere with her book tour. She’s written a memoir. It’s called “From Cradle To Crown.” Six years old and she has a memoir already.

Boy, I’d better get busy with mine. Looks like I’m about 40 years behind schedule.

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Filed under children, Observations, People